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Discussion Starter #1
Will the life of the IMA battery be affected by an irregular usage pattern, in the 2nd-gen Insight?

I am thinking of buying an Insight, but I'm not sure if it's a good idea in view of my usage pattern, which is as follows. I will drive a few miles one day, then not use the car for a week or two. Then drive another few miles, then not use it for another week or two. This pattern may continue for a few months. Then I'll have a burst of motoring, travelling 200 miles in a day, then another 200 miles a few days later. This high level of usage could continue for several weeks. Then the pattern will start again at the beginning.

Will the IMA batteries quite happily put up with this pattern of usage, or will their performance deteriorate and possibly lead to premature failure? I'm particularly worried what happens to the battery chemistry when left for two weeks without being charged and discharged?

I gather that some owners of the 1st-gen Insight have obtained trickle chargers for the IMA batteries, which they use from time to time. They had to make special connections to the battery pack, which I assume was done after the warranty expired. Do you think this is a good method of getting the best out of the batteries, especially if you have an irregular usage pattern?
 

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should be no problem. just leave it topped up (regen brake around 5-6 miles from your house or 3000 rpm in neutral) and it should be fine. make sure the blue cold light is off (leave it idling in neutral until off) after long periods of non usage.
 

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The worse thing you can do is let it sit at least a month or more with no use. The battery could get damaged in that case.

Your driving sounds fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for you replies. Unfortunately, not owning an Insight yet, I didn't quite understand some of the technicalities, so I hope the following questions don't sound too basic.

What does the blue cold light tell you about the car, and at what stage do you let the engine idle until the light is off?

You mentioned doing 3000 rpm in neutral, to top up the charge in the batteries. Is it a good idea to buy a model that allows you to set the gear ratio manually using paddles? My idea is that you could deliberately select a low gear so that the engine revs are 3000 rpm or more as you drive along, and this should top up the batteries without you having to do these revs while standing still in neutral. Or have I misunderstood this topic? While on the subject, are there other good reasons for buying a model with paddle shifters?
 

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The car has a light instead of a temp meter. So its blue when the engine is cold, off when its normal, blinks red when its running hot and stays on red with an alarm when its over heated.

In the event you want to do some fancy driving or store the car you can force charge the hybrid battery where as its normally kept around 50% charged.

To do that with my car at least you need to be in park and as a safety measure I put up the parking brake and use the foot brake if in traffic. I then bring the engine up to 2 thousand rpms. I see the assist/regen meter dip in the regen area and it starts to recharge the battery. It will stop when its full or you let the rpms fall down again.
 

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The jury is still out on the reduced-cell-count 2010+ Insight, but that driving pattern will kill a Gen 1 Insight or Gen 1 or Gen 2 Civic.


Will the life of the IMA battery be affected by an irregular usage pattern, in the 2nd-gen Insight?

I am thinking of buying an Insight, but I'm not sure if it's a good idea in view of my usage pattern, which is as follows. I will drive a few miles one day, then not use the car for a week or two. Then drive another few miles, then not use it for another week or two. This pattern may continue for a few months. Then I'll have a burst of motoring, travelling 200 miles in a day, then another 200 miles a few days later. This high level of usage could continue for several weeks. Then the pattern will start again at the beginning.

Will the IMA batteries quite happily put up with this pattern of usage, or will their performance deteriorate and possibly lead to premature failure? I'm particularly worried what happens to the battery chemistry when left for two weeks without being charged and discharged?

I gather that some owners of the 1st-gen Insight have obtained trickle chargers for the IMA batteries, which they use from time to time. They had to make special connections to the battery pack, which I assume was done after the warranty expired. Do you think this is a good method of getting the best out of the batteries, especially if you have an irregular usage pattern?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks very much for your reply. This could prove a valuable warning to me, and save me a lot of trouble in the future.
Can you fill me in a little more on the details. If we assume that the IMA battery in the 2nd-gen Insight behaves like those in the 1st-gen Insight and the Civic Hybrid, can you give a description of a driving pattern that is good for the battery, and a description of a driving pattern that is bad for the battery.
Also, can someone compensate for a bad driving pattern by using some sort of "plug-in-the wall" low current charger for the IMA battery?
 

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DavidGM, It is those idle periods where you leave it sitting around for 2 weeks that would be an issue. It is ideal if the car is operated on a consistant basis. The longest that I'm comfortable not driving my car at any one time is a week, and I only do that after driving the car with as much regen as it takes until it doesn't provide regen any more and indicates a full charge. Then when I drive it the next time after the wait I drive with heavy regen until it shows full. I typically try to drive the car from full to empty and back to full again at least once a month. With the 1st gen Insight it is pretty easy to keep the pack full though because we have a better engine power to weight ratio than the 2nd gen vehicle and it is easy to stay out of assist if the patience is there or the right gear selections are used(advantage of the 5speed, also clutch switch to disable assist/regen to prevent the car from making bad decisions).
 
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